After the breakthrough success of 2007's Visiter by San Francisco psychedelic folk group The Dodos, frontman Meric Long stated that, for his next album, he "wanted to make a rock record." And what better way for the acoustic-based duo to accomplish this feat than to become a trio? Although the vibraphone isn't what anyone would call a stereotypically "rock 'n' roll" instrument, newcomer Keaton Snyder's amped-up vibes are a welcome addition.
The resulting album, the recently released Time to Die, finds the band writing the most straightforward pop songs of its career. Gone are the miscues and gimmicky instruments like toy piano and trashcan lids that so defined Visiter—the band has pushed for a more polished sound on this disc. And despite the addition of Snyder this go-round, it doesn't come at the expense of clarity; in fact, the new record sounds more sparse at times than previous works. Forged predominantly by Logan Kroeber's clattering drums (which oddly eschews the bass drum altogether), The Dodos' real forte is its rhythmic adroitness, which translates best in a live setting.
Also not to be missed: the high-spirited New Zealanders Ruby Suns, who open.